PixieJenni talks GamerGate with both 'sides'

What Is Censorship?

on September 14, 2014

Some of these answers are from twitter, as well as via email reply this time.

People are anon if they didn’t explictly say “call me x”. Email me again if you want to change that 🙂Anon referencing consistent within this topic, but not with others.

What do you define censorship as (and give an example if possible)?

Anon1: “the wholesale shutting down of conversation, eg what happened on reddit.”


@UnrealDonnie: “I generally define it as suppression of criticism through use of forum privilege.”


Anon2: “False DMCA’s are an obvious form of censorship. Deleting dissenting comments on reddit; banning dissenting accounts from forums. This is almost always accompanied with ‘but it’s GOOD censorship!’ or ‘we need to protect personal information.'”


Anon3: “The quieting of anything outside of the purpose to hurt others. [PixieJenni note: assuming quieting anything except when it’s something harmful.] A taboo opinions and unfortunate truths are generally associated”


Anon4: “When Congress passes a law prohibiting the freedom of speech. For example: Todd v. Rochester Community Schools, 1979”


Anon5: ” It’s important to point out that when things devolve to personal attacks, removing comments/banning is NOT censorship. You can disagree all you want, but if you’re going to be a jerk, we don’t have to listen.” [PixieJenni note: this is from an anti-gamergate person]


Anon6: “To me, censorship is all about the power to silence others. It is active suppression of some else’s views. What it is NOT, is telling someone their views are shitty. Getting called out on terrible language is not censorship, it’s someone else speaking their mind against your mind. While we’re at it, getting fired for saying something shitty isn’t censorship either. It’s just one of the repercussions of saying something that so many people disagreed with, which can understandably lead to people and companies wanting to disassociate with you. Before you cry out for censorship take some time to consider that while you have the right to free speech, that doesn’t mean you exist in a vacuum. Your words are real, they are out there, they are heard, and they have consequences. Your right to free speech isn’t violated by other people when they bite back. You’re only being censored if your words are removed from the public eye and you no longer have the ability to put them back out. The only thing REMOTELY close to this happening in GamerGate is the bullshit DMCA claims and the deletion of comments on Reddit. Even with Reddit, while that was an egregious abuse of mod privileges, your constitutional rights aren’t entirely applicable there. It’s like getting kicked out of a bar. They don’t NEED a good reason to kick you out, they don’t need a reason at all, and it’s not against any laws to delete your shit. Of course, just like people saying shit has repercussions, so do the attempts at hiding that by forum mods and such… but that’s a different topic.” [PixieJenni note – this is a non-GG person]


Anon7: “Censorship at its heart is the active repression of information (ideas, discussion, news, etc). This can range from direct removal of that information to more subtle manipulation designed to discourage the spread of that information. #GamerGate itself has a slew of examples of various sites where any discussion was immediately removed and people banned to prevent further questions. Part of what energised #GamerGate was blatant activity like this combing with the Streisand Effect. The lack of transparency involved lead to further questioning about what justification there was for such an immediate and total censoring of open discussion.

Less direct censorship can performed by manipulating how and where discussion takes place. People can feel ostracised from communities by being mislabelled (“cis white misogynist”, being challenged on their race or gender in #NotYourShield). The numerous “gamers are dead” articles were at least in part an attempt to dissuade people from feeling part of the “gamer” community (that you would be out-of-date or obsolete if you didn’t agree to this “new era” of thought). The #GamerGate and #NotYourShield hashtags have been attacked as the work of racists, misogynists, homophobes, etc in order to discredit anyone who would support them, and to discourage new people from joining. People at the fringes may only be given a basic and bias understanding of what is happening, and take a specific side without really looking into the different positions… this essentially perpetuates the lie. A number of sites have misreported the details, either due to being directly affiliated with one group or another, or are simply retelling information that they have been fed (and at least in some cases, covering controversial topics is a form of clickbait). Actively announcing “blocking” on Twitter is an attempt to show people that they can be silenced… but from the outside, people simply look more insular, manufacturing a personal echo-chamber of people who only ever agree.

People have had their personality attacked, or career prospects threatened for not simply agreeing with a certain person. False DMCA claims have been made, as well as engineering the removal of web-domains and twitter accounts. People who have tried to remain openly neutral have been harassed to agree with a side, or stay out of the discussion entirely. While these are mostly acts designed to discourage “enemy” behaviour by shaming or attacking, there are also ways which actively encourage specific discussions.

The #GameEthics hastag was an attempt to create a new tag free from “trolls” of #GamerGate. However, this was seen as a way of disrupting the original tag (since it would split people between the tags), so it only gained support from most of the “accused/SJW” side of the discussion (again, another echo-chamber of agreement). Many websites with comment sections will usually crack down harder on comments which disagree with the article, leaving only agreement and “praise” for authors. I know of at least two websites that have run articles dedicated to telling their own readers to leave if they are unwilling to agree with the author’s position. While at least some of this is about generating an atmosphere that a group feels comfortable in, a lot of it can end up aggressively policing a community in terms of what can and can’t be said. Once this level of restraint is imposed it can become impossible to bring new innovation or energetic discussion afterwards, leaving the community to feel claustrophobic and isolated.”


Anon8: “http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/censoring


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